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Lockdown - Curfew ordered for March Pen after five killed in early morning violence

Published:Monday | October 10, 2016 | 10:00 AMJason Cross
Family members mourn the deaths of their loved ones after gunmen killed five persons, including three children, at Africa Settlement on March Pen Road in Spanish Town, St Catherine, yesterday.
A policeman secures the crime scene where the burnt bodies of five residents were found in a tenament yard in an area known as Africa Settlement on March Pen Road in Spanish Town, St Catherine, yesterday.
Jennifer McDonald (centre), mother and grandmother, mourns the deaths of family.
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Police yesterday imposed a curfew on sections of the St Catherine North Division late yesterday as they sought to bring a halt to an eruption of violence that resulted in the charred remains of five persons, including three children, being pulled from premises in Africa Settlement on March Pen Road in the parish.

The curfew, which began at 6 p.m. yesterday, will remain in effect until tomorrow.

During yesterday's deadly incident, a 14-year-old girl and a 25-year-old man were also shot and injured.

According to police reports, a patrol team of lawmen was called to respond to heavy gunfire in the area around 1:30 a.m.

When the police arrived at the location, a group of heavily armed men, who had been alerted to their presence, engaged them in a shoot-out.

Two persons were later found with gunshot wounds and five other persons burnt to death at the 7 March Pen Road premises.

Dead are two-year-old Koyandra Wynter, nine-year-old Revaughn Evans, 14-year-old Marvin Campbell Jr, 22-year-old Venisha Bartley, and 24-year-old Salesha Evans.

The two persons shot and injured were admitted to hospital.

A motive has not been determined. However, the police suspect that the incident could be gang related.

Marvin Campbell Sr, otherwise called 'Fat Man', who is wanted for a number of offences, ranging from incest to a recent triple murder in Spanish Town, has been named a person of interest in the matter and is being asked to turn himself in to the Spanish Town Criminal Investigation office by noon today.

"We don't know the motive yet, but at the end of the day, I think there is going to be a linkage (gang activity) because the people who carried out this act, we pretty much suspect that they are linked to one of the gangs operating there," Stephanie Lindsay, head of the Constabulary Communication Unit, told The Gleaner yesterday afternoon.

"As to what motivated the attack, it's something that we are still trying to ascertain. We know in recent times, there has been some infighting in the Klansman gang going on in Spanish Town and other surrounding areas."

Police Commissioner Dr Carl Williams visited the community yesterday, along with other members of the Police High Command and the leadership of the St Catherine North Division, to reassure citizens that additional police support would be provided.

In the meantime, Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller has condemned the act and labelled it an attack on the nation's children.

"Once again, our children are under attack as crime continues to spiral out of control. Our children are no longer safe in their homes and communities. We owe it to our children to provide them with safe and nurturing communities in which they can thrive and achieve their full potential. We must protect our children," Simpson Miller said in a statement issued yesterday.

She also appealed to Prime Minister Andrew Holness to urgently pay attention to what she termed "out-of-control crime".

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com